I can recall a New York Times staffer happily tweeting about a fall-off in ebooks’ market share. That I get. Some mainstream media people just hate E. But what to make of Good e-Reader publisher Michael Kozlowski’s proclamation that E-Books are on the decline and people are switching back to print?
Short-term, yes, E has taken hits due to price increases from Big Five publishers heavily invested in legacy infrastructure. But Pew statistics show that 28 percent of Americans read an ebook in the previous 12 months before the March-April survey—slightly more than the 27 percent from the year before. And that is with the Big Five providing headwinds. Imagine what E could do if the larger publishers would truly embrace it.
Mind you, Amazon and others could be treating booklovers much better: observe Jeff Bezo’s Putin-level contempt for readers begging for optional all-text boldface and other essentials—that’s what happens with monopolies and quasi-monopolies, be they from the Russian State or U.S. corporations. Furthermore, ebooks are not as good as paper for textbooks because of the challenge of constantly flipping around, but this will undoubtedly improve. And for other kinds of reading? Well, the best people to rebut Mike are his own readers. A few sample comments:
- “If I have a book in both hard copy and in e-book, the e-book wins out because in most cases I can select a font for size and/or boldness that is easier for me to read than the font in a hard copy.”
- “My partner goes to sleep before I do and expects darkness. My backlit Kobo means I can get my reading in without disturbing him. Also, I don’t have a lot of shelf space or room in the house. Just bought the Kobo Aura One so I’m all in on eBooks.”
- “I haven’t bought a paper book since I got a Kindle. My final paper book was the Star Trek TNG Destiny trilogy. I passed it onto a friend. I wish I had bought it on my Kindle. Anyway, I find it hard to believe that one can concentrate on paper better than a kindle.”
Could Mike have simply been trolling his followers just for the sake of inspiring spirited discussions on his blog and elsewhere (mea culpa, in regard to the post I’m writing now)?
Maybe. I certainly hope that’s the case, given that he himself is selling a $700 ebook reader whose users will presumably want him to stick around to provide support. What’s more, how about the potential of ebooks to multiply the number of books available to cash-strapped people and those in isolated locations? National digital library endowment, anyone?
So what’s your own take on the ebooks-in-decline issue and on Good eReader’s treatment of it?
Detail: Mike cites studies showing that ebooks have “few spacial landmarks” and are harder to concentrate with. How about a little ebook literacy? Too many people treat ebook reading like Web surfing. If you know how to read E properly and take as much time per page, you’ll do just fine.
A provocateur stirring the pot is what I sense. It can be a useful tactic when searching for new and unexpected angles to write about later – not unlike hosting a workshop for aspiring writers. All sorts of possibly stimulating ideas swirling around that may bear fruit for keen observers.
My own view on eBook lethargy is that it is due to the failure we all share in realizing its potential. There’s plenty of blame to go ’round – writers, publishers and everyone in between. This will continue until we break away from the view that the eBook is simply an electronic version of the pBook.
Despite the fact that this particular blog seems to be held in low esteem by some, I gave it a go. I don’t bother with it any more after one of Michael’s previous efforts along these lines. I get enough FUD from the Big 5 and their sock puppets.
I do read Michael Koslowski’s blog from time to time and I enjoy it. He’s such a totally inept scammer that he’s comical. And he does cover some interesting topics from time to time.
He gets a lot wrong. He obviously has only a surface understanding of much that’s technical but it’s plain he tries hard to keep his posts interesting and he often succeeds in that.
The key to enjoying Koslowsky is to not take him too seriously. I know very little about him except from his blog and his video reviews but my impression is that he’s a well meaning huckster and an interesting guy if you aren’t bothered too much by his many flaws.
So as a fan of both this blog and Michael’s I flipped when I read my own comment about reading at night on this article. Thanks for the slight ego boost, ha ha. I have noticed that Michael seems to have a bad reputation and wonder if he has a horrible personality in person that’s turning people off. I don’t know, I just read the feeds.
@Jonah: You’re welcome! I’ve never met Michael in person. He and his sidekick come across as extremely likable in their videos. I just have a minor problem–that Good e-Reader is so often so wrong, whether the topic is the so-called Voyage 2 or the future of ebooks. No infallibility claimed at this end. But surely he can do better.
A blog dissing the competition?? Not exactly unheard of but unseemly all the same.
Girls, you’re both pretty.
@BDR: Huh? And let this B.S. stand without a rebuttal here? Of course, I’d hope Michael was just trolling his readers to keep them engaged. What’s more, both Chris Meadows and I have been rooting for Mike’s ereader project to take off. Hey, we just call ’em as we see ’em.